BRANSON, Mo. —
I had heard of Stormy Point Village for years.
The resort is an ownership-based, time-share community. Not just a time-share condo, but a full-on destination resort. Kind of like a land-based cruise ship operation complete with entertainment, food and activities.
A few weeks ago I checked it out for myself after scoring an invite to a Wednesday pool-side barbecue.
I’ve had questions about time-share vacation properties for years. I love the idea of having a couple of destination vacation weeks on tap each year. I’m looking into time-share options and will get back later with that information.
I’d been told Stormy Point Village was a Branson destination like no other.
The 100-plus cottage community is made up of one- to four-bedroom, New England-style units. I hesitate to call them “units.” They are homes.
Think Cape Cod on Table Rock Lake.
One of the first couples I ran into was Mat and Jackie Kahler. The 28-year-old Iowa newlyweds were celebrating their honeymoon. We met at the resort’s Lighthouse Lounge. I’m glad we struck up a conversation.
“As a young couple in Branson, we haven’t run out of things to do here,” Jackie said. “We have made plans to bring our son down next time.”
Mat’s father is a Stormy Point owner and provided the newlyweds with their honeymoon destination.
“This is definitely a place that young couples and older couples can come and get together to visit,” Mat said. “There are a million things to do. It’s nice to know that at any point in our life with a little notice we can come down and have a good time.”
Because the properties are ground-up owned and deeded, they may be passed on to future generations, Mat said.
The resort offers myriad activities on site. A restaurant and lounge, pools indoor and out, a fitness center and activities for kids and adults are available daily. Regular social mixers and activities get owners and guests acquainted. I attended a Wednesday afternoon pool-side barbecue and met dozens of folks from around the country. I enjoyed a Monday morning breakfast during which a dozen Branson entertainers dropped through and sang songs, shared some comedy and passed out special offer coupons to the early-bird guests. A second brunch is available at 11 for those not-so-early birds.
Mat, however, was clear why he loved Stormy Point. It’s the access provided to Table Rock Lake, he said.
“Dad and I come down here to fish,” Mat told me, pulling out his phone and showing off a stringer of bass from his camera roll.
“Stormy is about relaxing and fishing and seeing shows. It’s easy to get out on the lake from here and it’s easy to get to the Strip. It’s a nice dock and a great place to start your day fishing.”
Mat said his family has enjoyed their years as owners at the resort. They are regulars.
“The Stormy community is growing,” he said. “Since my dad has become part of it we’ve learned that it’s great for the people who want to own in Branson and grow with the Stormy community.”
A team effort
Endorsements, such as that, make Pat Joyce smile.
Pat is one of the founding Stormy Point Village developers and takes great pride in what his team of partners and employees have created during the past 10 years.
“We have had wonderful success,” Pat told me. “We treat the owners and guests like family and our employees the same way.”
With more than 550 local employees, and hundreds of owners and guests on property at any one time, that’s a big family.
“It’s a team effort and we get exceptional guest reaction,” he said.
The key to success, Pat explained, was creating a community. In this case, one with New England charm.
“We wanted to build single-family cottages,” he said. “Because it would be on (Table Rock Lake’s) Stormy Point, we thought a New England theme would fit the name. We designed the street scenes and the names just came along.”
The lighthouse, which towers above the Stormy clubhouse, offers a view of the lake and the Ozark surrounds.
Cape Cod Drive, Lobster Circle and Old Harbor Lane snake around the property’s color-coordinated cottages and clubhouse. The landscaping is nothing to be dished, either.
“There was a lot of design that went into it,” Pat said. “Our employees picked the colors that you see.”
Pat said that the choice of a New England-themed resort just made sense in an area with many cabin and high-rise resort options. He just wanted something new, which would be unique to Branson and appealing to prospective owners.
“It just fit the natural surroundings of the area,” he said. “The design blend went well with the trees and the fall colors that we get. We’ve had a great year for color. If you look at the (Table Rock) area and the Stormy Point lighthouse, it just makes sense. It’s a nice fit.”
The hardwood flooring planks in the cottages are manufactured in Monett. Using local stone, reclaimed materials and working to be as “green” as possible are important to Pat.
Customer service key
“It’s about customer service,” Pat said. “From check in until check out, it’s about ‘The Stormy Experience.’ If you are coming on a vacation, especially with your family, you get privacy because you have your own cottage.”
Guests can be as social as they want.
“You get a community and everybody on staff and down at the pool know each other,” he said. “It’s really fun. They become friends. There’s a network of them who come back each year at the same time to reconnect with their Stormy friends.”
Guest input is a big part of Pat’s master plan. Their comments have allowed the staff to tweak the resort’s concept and amenities during the years, he said.
Pat, whose background is in the hotel industry, said a high end hotel resort model is his standard.
“My model has always been Ritz Carlton,” he admits. “It’s sometimes difficult to do on our budget what Ritz Carlton does, but that’s the experience we try to deliver.”
I’ve stayed at a few Ritz Carlton properties and it’s a challenging example to hold up as a standard.
“Architecturally (Stormy) is very pleasing,” he said. “The cottages are functional, but mainly it’s customer service. That’s what it’s all about. You treat the guests like family and they will reciprocate and come back.”
For Pat the ride isn’t over. A new clubhouse, pools, theater and restaurant will open in 2014.
“The resort is constantly expanding,” he said. “Just like Branson, we are always reinventing. We are here for the long haul. Branson entertainment is in transition to a younger crowd. I’m keeping an eye out and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it.”